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    Mayo Clinic Minute: What is MS?

handicapped disabled man in wheelchairMultiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults, affecting at least 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.3 million worldwide.

Despite the numbers, doctors say MS remains a relatively misunderstood disease.

"I think there’s a general lack of understanding of MS," says Dr. Dean Wingerchuk, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus . "People often confuse it with muscular dystrophy, which is a completely different disorder."

MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, where the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Wingerchuk further explains MS and discusses the symptoms that can occur when it attacks. Jeff Olsen reports.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Related: Can lifestyle changes help with MS?

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads. Read the script.